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Aesop's Fables: Sir Roger L'Estrange (1692)

72. AN EAGLE AND A FOX (Perry 1)

There was a Bargain struck up betwixt an Eagle and a Fox to be wonderful good Neighbours and Friends. The one took up in a Thicket of Brushwood, and the other timber’d upon a Tree hard by. The Eagle one day when the Fox was abroad a foraging, fell into his Quarters, and carried away a whole Litter of Cubs at a Swoop. The Fox came time enough back to see the Eagle upon the Wing with her Prey in the Foot, and to send many a heavy Curse after her; but there was no overtaking her. It happen’d in a very short time after this, upon the sacrificing of a Goat, that the same Eagle made a swoop at a Piece of Flesh upon the Altar, and she took it away to her Young: But some live Coals it seems that stuck to’t, set the Nest on Fire. The Birds were not as yet fledged enough to shift for themselves, but upon sprawling and struggling to get clear of the Flame, down they tumbled, half-roasted, into the very Mouth of the Fox, that stood gaping under the Tree to see the End on’t: So that the Fox had the Satisfaction at last of devouring the Children of her Enemy in the very sight of the Dam.
THE MORAL. God reserves to himself the Punishment of faithless and oppressing Governors, and the vindication of his own Worship and Altars.

L'Estrange originally published his version of the fables in 1692. There is a very nice illustrated edition in the Children's Classics series by Knopf: Sir Roger L'Estrange. Aesop - Fables which is available at amazon.com.